“The Pod” represents a 40-stories office building proposal in Manchester, designed as a response to the need of adapting workspaces for a post-Covid era and aimed to accommodate both typical corporate office spaces, as well as fashion design offices and studios on the upper floors. The different programmes are efficiently separated by the existence of a leisure middle floor, the difference in floor area given by a ground floor-top floor gradual size variation, the floor plates’ different twisting angles and shape. The ground floor is equipped with a reception, lounge, day care facility and a visitor’s café, while the top floor consists of a skybar and restaurant.
Inspired by growth processes found in Nature and developed using parametric modelling softwares, primarily Rhino and Grasshopper, the offices, amenities and service spaces are placed within pod-like structures that run vertically throughout the building in order to create highly efficient spaces in terms of circulation and social distancing measures. The “pods” differ in structure, with the office “pods” consisting of curtain walling systems while the core and storage “pods” consist of load-bearing concrete walls. The spaces were tested using an environmental analysis software and iterated to increase the interior spatial quality through natural daylight and the use of energy-saving smart lighting devices that dim up and down according to building programme.
Green spaces were a key design driver, as providing each floor with an urban garden informed the circular general arrangement of the building, with each floor’s green terraces placed around the edge for easy access from all sides of the building, while also providing shading and contributing to the well-being of the building users.
As such, the 10 images represent the resolution of a year-long architectural project, aimed to deliver a sustainable and well-structured building which brings a shift in Manchester’s skyline.